Report: R.I. ranks No. 22 for fiscal, social independence in nation

RHODE ISLAND was ranked the No. 22 most independent state in the nation in WalletHub's 2018's Most & Least Independent States list. / COURTESY WALLETHUB

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked No. 22 for independence on WalletHub’s 2018’s Most & Least Independent States.

To arrive at the rankings, a WalletHub data team compared the 50 states based on five sources of dependency: consumer finances, the government, the job market, international trade and personal vices.

The categories were broken down into 39 key indicators of independence to determine which states are most self-sustaining. Examples of some of the indicators include credit scores, households with emergency funds, employer-based retirement, household income, unemployment rate, dependency on the federal government, use of public assistance, gross domestic product generated by exports, jobs supported by exported goods, drug use, gambling disorders and binge drinking.

The highest overall ranking for independence went to Colorado and the lowest was for Alaska. Massachusetts was ranked No. 8 in overall independence.

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The six New England states showed up only a handful of times in the five highest and five lowest rankings within two dozen of the key indicators.

Massachusetts was one of the five states least dependent on the federal government.

Rhode Island and Vermont were among the states with the highest percentage of adult drug users.

Connecticut was among the five states with the highest employer-based retirement access and participation.

New Hampshire has the lowest share of residents in poverty.

Maine was one of five states with the lowest unemployment rate, highest percentage of households with rainy day or emergency funds, lowest median household income, highest number of binge drinkers and highest percentage of households receiving federal assistance, a category that also included Vermont.

Mary Lhowe is a PBN contributing writer.